by Alex Kramer



There I was, watching the sunset on the beach at dusk

There I was with my feet in the cool water as I sat in the silky white sand

There I was watching seagulls fly overhead

The beach was vacant

Miles of endless, derelict beach

I walked down the beach, picking up seashells as I went and then tossing them back into the vast sempiternal ocean

I thought about the story behind each shell, how it came about the beach

I figured I was just as all the other shells on the beach, one of billions of others

There are plenty of shells, I will find them on every beach.

As one shell washes up another is swept away by the influential ocean

Just as one life ends, another begins

As life goes on for some, it slowly fades for others

Life will not end in the mind as long as you are still remembered in the heart.

One shell washes away in the ocean, that doesn’t mean it will be gone, just not on the beach anymore.

One shell might be broken, but pieces of it are still scattered along the ocean floor

One death does not cause the person to be forgotten, part of him/her is still with their family and friends, in the heart.

The beach holds many secrets and stories along its endless desert of sand and brush.

The beach is a place where memories are to be remembered and retold.

The beach is a place where the deepest stories are in the sand and terrain around you.

Yet, somehow the beach shows only a small portion of shells,

There are an unfathomable amount of shells in, over, and beyond the ocean.

The ocean is an enigma of incomprehensible depths and secrets.

Go to other beaches, billions –no, Trillions of shells and pieces of shells are there, some are just infinitesimally small, diminished to grains of sand.

So many shells you will never see or even know existed, but they did, and they will, and they do.

It grew dark.

I looked up at the stars and thought the same as the shells.

I came to believe that the stars and the shells are the souls of the deceased,

Billions have died, and billions more will.

There are more stars than you will ever be able to see,

stretching across galaxies, universes away,

but they are there. And more are discovered all the time.

The souls of the deceased, watching over you for eternity, keeping you safe.

Watching your life grow as it slowly approaches its inevitable end.

Watching a family birthed from the ashes of your ancestors.

Carrying out the name of your ancestors.

As life goes on, seashells become more abundant and even death is reversed…


Phthalo Ocean Nights


By Mitch Micele

The Ocean was blue and dark.
The Sky was black with only tiny specks of aged, gleaming stars.
A feeling of stillness swept through out the water,

creating vast ripples.
The Ocean was mundane but the sky was miraculous

with it’s vibrancy of life reaching out to infinite distances.
The Oceans depths called out to the universe,

a fascination that The Sky could only wish to explore.
The Sky would twinkle and The Ocean would sway,

but they could never meet

for an atmosphere separated them.
Amphibians, fishes, bugs, and even mammals occupied these seas.
Bats, birds, aliens, winds, and storms flew around within the massive reaches up above.
The Ocean cared little for the creatures swimming beneath her phthalo currents.

She would only be filled with excitement when

The Sky was anxious enough to reach down and poke the waters of Earth,

beneath the stratosphere and the troposphere,

causing vicious winds that push rolling tides high  

above sandy shorelines and misty clouds.
But never, would The Ocean and The Sky be able to hold on tightly

or even touch

for more than a brief moment.
Thus, The Sky would keep casting stars for the beautiful Ocean

just to wish upon that one day,

the one day they would unite.

Stairwells and Bad Choices


By Shyanne Calvin


I listen to the squeaks our sneakers make as we shuffle down the dim lit hallway. You don’t look at me but I look at you. I can’t help but look. “so” you half chuckle half whisper stopping in front of me. “so” I reply looking down at the floor you look into my face forcing my eyes up to yours. When I do look up you smile. “come on” you say tugging me into an empty stairwell. We stand there for a moment until you finally sit. “Lets cuddle”  

I shake my head and laugh at your request. “Well at least come closer” you insist. I do as you say and you wrap your arm around me. My heart, it’s seriously about to explode. All I can think about is how long I’ve waited for this moment. How extremely right and wrong it is.  

“The stars look beautiful tonight” you say referring to the ceiling. I chuckle and nod. “You’re beautiful” I say with fake passion. You sit up and tilt your head towards mine. For a minute I think your going to kiss me. I’ve only been kissed twice in my life and I was betting on this to be my third, bit instead you press your face against my collarbone and rub your face on my shirt. Is this what it feels like to feel unrequited love? It totally sucks. I like being alone with you. I like how you make my heart flutter and my stomach turn all at the same time.

“I like this. Is this wrong? Am I bad because I like you?” You have a girlfriend of course it’s bad, but instead I say “ awwwe I like you too” we stay like that for a while holding each other. “If you could remember anything, anyone moment. What would you want to remember?” Your question shocks me. Don’t get all deep like that. You look so sad when you ask deep questions like that. You make me worry. I think this over then I lean over so that I’m leaning on you. “Death. I think everyone wants to experience that at least once without actually dying.” I say. I look up at you and you nod. Your sad brown eyes stare down at me and for once I understand. You’re just as messed up as I am. Is that why you want me? now it hurts, my chest hurts because I know you’re using me to cope. You won’t break up with your girlfriend, you won’t hold my hand when we leave this small safe place that we’ve created. We’ll go our separate ways because you can only hold me in empty dim stairwells and the darkness of an empty room.

I’ll still let you press your forehead against mine and wrap your hands around my waist because I’m scared. I’m absolutely terrified. So lets keep this our little secret, the way we feel right now. I don’t want to be alone…no one wants to be alone.



By Gabby Huizinga

The lake rose above us like a dome.  If we were to drive just past the light, it seemed as if we would be trapped inside of the dome, drowning in the sheer beauty that was Lake Huron.  The water was so blue that it didn’t seem blue any longer.  It was a foreign color, mystical and magical.  It was the first time that I’d seen a lake that summer and the first time I’d seen Lake Huron.

The second the van stopped I jumped out and ran to the shore.  The sand burned my feet and I instantly regretted wearing my flimsy flip flops instead of my classy sandals.  The five of usMarvin, Micah, Inga, Sophia, and Iwaited patiently at the edge of the water for the camera crew.  Lake Huron was the last stop on our filming tour for the movie.  As much as I was homesick, I didn’t want this experience to end.  Being on set everyday was a dream come true and the camera had become my friend.  It would be almost a year until we could see the finished product, but I could already see my name glittering up in lights.  

Within minutes, the cameras were rolling and I took my place next to Mary, our handler.  Mary’s job was to supervise us while we weren’t on camera and to have any emergency items readily available.  She handed Sophia and me a huge bottle of sunscreen and we helped each other slather it on.  Marvin, Micah, and Inga were already protected due to their dark complexion, but Sophia’s fiery red hair and my golden hair  left both of us vulnerable.  I laid on my back, letting the richness of the sun sink into my skin.  

Fred, our director, called Sophia to shoot and she disappeared into a sandy valley between two dunes.  Julie, the assistant director, called for Marvin and Micah along the shore.  It was just Inga and me left.  It was always like that; two locations would shoot at once leaving two or three of us to entertain ourselves while we were waiting.  It wasn’t hard; I’d only known the other kids for two days and we were already best friends.

Marvin and Micah came back within a few minutes and told me that Julie wanted to see me.  I brushed the sand off of my sundress and walked along the shore to where she waited.

“Alright, Gabby, I’m going to have you stand on the shore for about five seconds and then you’ll wade out into the water for about fifty seconds.  Don’t worry about going too far, just make sure that you go slow.  I want you to think of your future, of where in life you’re going.  It’s peaceful,” she told me.  I nodded and took my place while she set up the camera.

I took a deep breath and looked out ahead of me.  The water was so clear, so blue.  The waves crashed at my feet.  They were small at first, but grew with each passing second.  I could barely hear Julie say the magic wordaction.  I counted to five and then tentatively stepped off of the shore and into the icy current.  I wanted to jump back, but something pushed me forward.  The wind?  Maybe.  The current?  It’s possible.  My future?  I don’t know.  I let whatever it was coax me further into the water.  With every step another centimeter of my skin took in the pure water and began to breathe.  The iciness of the water traveled through my body and I shivered. Everything here was so pure, a real-life fantasy.  It was everything I ever wanted.  This is it.  This will be my future, I told myself.   The water, the simplicity, the pure happiness.  It all will be mine.

I stopped just before the water reached the edge of my dress and counted out the last two seconds.  The wind blew my hair back and I smiled up at the sky.  The sky was just a shade lighter than the water and there were two white fluffy clouds overhead.  I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, letting the Vitamin D sink in.  I could feel my skin getting darker and my hair getting lighter.  

“And scene!” called Julie and I turned around to see her and Fred applauding.  I smiled as I made my way back to the shore where my dad met me with my flip flops and a towel for my legs and feet.  

“That was exactly what I wanted.  Nice work,” declared Fred.

“Thank you,” I answered, beaming.  He patted my back and I ran off.

Throughout the day, I shot several other scenes, both by myself and with a few others.  They felt good, but none of them felt as good as my first scene that day.  When you’re an actor, you have to get in the moment.  During that scene, I finally felt what it was like to be in the moment.

A few hours later, Fred and Julie sat together with clipboards in hand.  They intently looked over the scenes we filmed that day and took notes.  The other kids and I began to pack up our bags and load them into the vans.  Most of the cameras and equipment was packed away; we only had out one of the tripod cameras and a handheld camera.

“Is that a wrap?” asked Mary as Fred and Julie approached us.

“I just have one more scene to film and I want Gabby to do it,” Fred answered.  

He motioned for me to follow him down the shore a ways.  We hadn’t gone that far down the shore and it took him a minute to get the view he wanted.  He tested the angle of the camera at a variety of spots before finally marking an X in the sand.

“I want you to sit here and look out that way.”  He pointed out into the water with the wind directly in my face.  I did as I was told and waited for his instructions.  “This scene is about reflection.  It’s about looking at how far you’ve come and what you’re going to do in the future.  I know you did the future scene with Julie, and I expect that you’ll do very well with this.  I want you to think about what you’ve done with your life.  Are you happy?”

I opened my mouth to speak but he quickly shushed me.  “Don’t answer me.  Show me.  3…2…1…action.”

I looked out over the water and let the wind blow my hair back.  The wind carried tiny water particles and they tickled my face.  Beyond the buoys, I saw a group of seagulls.  Their pure white feathers made them stand out from the multitudes of blue.  One in particular caught my eye.  It was the one doing its own thing a few yards away from the group.  It seemed selected, special almost.  It looked back at the group every so often, but kept swimming away.  It didn’t expect anyone to follow it, just like me.  I was the one selected to come here.  I was the one selected to do this scene.  I was always the one selected, the one put on a pedestal.  It made some people angry, or maybe it just gave others a reason to ignore me.  And yet, I keep swimming.  I keep swimming away from them.  

I let my mind wander back a few days and I re-lived it all over again.  I felt the nervousness of the first day of filming.  I felt the rain during the graveyard scene.  I felt the joy of playing on the playground.  I felt the exhaustion after the first twelve hour work day.  I felt the laughter that escaped from my lips during hair and makeup.  I felt the warmth of the summer sun on my skin.  I felt the ice cold water as it sunk into my toes.  I felt the bond that formed between me and the other kids.  I felt it all again.  The seagull began to swim towards me and I looked into its eyes.  Suddenly, I understood.  This is why I’m here on this Earth.  I’m here to act.  I’m here to perform.  I’m here to be.  

Yes, Mr. Fred.  Yes, I’m happy.



You are the lullabye that your grandma sang to you,

The tired cliche that your father always uses,

The nickname that your mother calls you,

The inside jokes shared with your best friend,

You are the music you grew up listening to,

The set list from your first ever concert,

The theme song to your favourite tv show,

The lyrics that you can’t help but sing,

You are the mantra repeating in your head,

The compliment that you always receive,

The advice from the person who means so much,

The opinion that shouldn’t have mattered,

You are the book on your nightstand,

The page that you earmarked and highlighted,

The note that you wrote yourself in the margin,

The story that will never get old:

You are the words

That surround you,

That fill your mind

And roll off your tongue

Forever Alone

By Hannah Keister

It smells like vinegar and rotten fish. I can’t see anything except for the glow of the latch on my belt and the base of my shoelace. I am so hungry and have no idea where my friends are. They could be dead, rotting in the depths of the cave or starving somewhere deep in the heart of the Earth. I’m not even sure I’m in a cave anymore, for all I know I could be inside the Earth’s core waiting to be found.  My heart is racing, but I do not seem to have the strength to look for food or my peers, so I wait here. My legs feel as though someone beat them with a hammer for about an hour and I can’t get my mind to make them move. I have been walking non stop for almost 5 hours now and I can feel the tension in my calves and thighs. I’m terrified. I don’t know what’s living in the core of the cave so I don’t want to take any chances of walking into the wrong monsters home. I sit there with a smug look on my face then decide that if I don’t get up now, I may never get up again.

I pick up my pack, which for now is the only thing I know actually exists. When I start walking I can feel the air become thicker and more dense. I know this must be the wrong way so I turn around and start off on another route. I trip on something hard and smooth, that I figure it is a rock, but then I pick it up and move my figures to the base of the object and start tapping it to see if it would possibly turn on or maybe cave in. When it doesn’t I feel around some more. I move my feet around in circles and feel for more objects. When I don’t find anything I keep feeling the object in my hands, I feel a switch and move it upward. Nothing happens. I move it back down then up again. I tap the top of it and it flickers, I then saw that it was a flashlight. I start to feel more relieved, but when I started to hit it against the wall of the cave it does nothing. I put it in my pack and carry on thinking, “I have to get out of here.”

   My heart is pounding and the more I walk the more tired I get. I start to feel faint so I sit down for a brief second to catch my breath. When I stand back up I can here panting behind me. I stand there frozen. I couldn’t find the strength to move my feet even an inch. The panting gets closer and I can feel the warmth of the its breath on my neck. I slowly turn around to face the beast, but when I am all the way round the panting stops. I look around to see if it had left but I couldn’t see anything. I move my fingers across the walls of the cave and feel. Suddenly my hand is stopped and I feel the indentations of an arm or maybe a chest. When I start to move my hand away the being grabbed it. I didn’t say a word but instead sat there breathing as though I just learned how. My hands start to shake and I can’t find the strength to move my hands away from the predator so I move my feet together and try to make out what the creature was. I squint my eyes and tried to move my fingers. Finally I feel it release my hand then scream, “Guys I found him!” My heart sinks and all I know to do is collapse. I hit the hard ground with a thud. Then hear my buddy Will pick me off my feet and bring me to what seems to be the corner for the cave. Then he whispers,  “You will be okay, Lenny.”

I nod then try to stand, but can no longer carry the weight of my legs. He tells me to stay where I am then leaves.  I can see an opening of where we may have came in. I try to crawl to the open doorway, but is stopped. Will bends down and says,  “Oh no. You can’t leave here, we aren’t done with you yet.” My stomach drops and I can feel the walls closing in on me. I am alone.

Fall for Forever


Open your eyes to mine

as our lips lock

and the world unfolds,

as the clouds fall

and the sky widens,

we’ll fall forever

when our eyelashes dance

alongside each other

as the moon rises

along with the sun

an impossibility

becoming infinity,

hold my hands

and help me fly,

as our minds

reach through our eyes.